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Projects Intro


The Pursuit of Extreme Efficiency

 

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Projects Intro


The Pursuit of Extreme Efficiency

 

ADVANCES ARE MADE BY PUSHING LIMITS.  WE ARE LIMITED ONLY BY THE POWER OUTPUT OF THE HUMAN BODY. THIS FORCES US TO APPROACH EACH CHALLENGE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF CONSERVING ENERGY AND CREATING THE MOST EFFICIENT VEHICLE POSSIBLE.

In 2015 our goal is to build a human powered speed bike capable of breaking the current world record. Since 2009 our passionate teams have built the world's first flapping wing aircraft ("Snowbird") and the AeroVelo "Atlas" which won the A.H.S. Sikorsky Prize for the world's first successful human powered helicopter flight.  

 

What do you want to know more about? 


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Speed-bikes


Speedbikes
 

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Speed-bikes


Speedbikes
 

Eta

For the past 6 years our teams have been working to build the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle and surpass the current level-ground speed record of 133.8 km/h (83.1 mph). Since  2009 we have built and raced numerous bikes, with each iteration surpassing the last.  Our current bike, "Eta" is the fastest bike we've made yet and if it breaks the record this year, will become the fastest human powered vehicle on earth.    Go here for the latest news on Eta's attempt the world record. 


Eta at a Glance

  • Top Design Speed: 140km/hr
  • Top Achieved Speed: 126.27 km/hr (Battle Mountain, 2014)
  • Empty Weight: 25kg
  • Current world ranking: 11th
  • Shell Construction: Pre-preg Carbon-Honeycomb Sandwich 
  • Frame: Wet lay carbon fibre
  • Vision system: dual SD cameras/screens with on-screen display

                                           CAD rendering of eta's outer shell.   

                                           CAD rendering of eta's outer shell. 

 

Eta is all about the pursuit of ultimate efficiency. We have begun with a clean-sheet design, and working from the ground up we’ve evaluated the best design options for every component and subsystem. We will rely on the team’s broad experience to reduce risk, weighing the challenge of implementing each novel solution against our confidence in obtaining the potential speed gains. We know that with consistent incremental improvements in each subsystem, we can greatly improve on our past performance, breaking down preconceived limits of what is possible.

Aerodynamics: We use Computational Fluid Dynamics and optimal aerodynamic shaping techniques, proven-out with on-road testing, to design an exterior shape with drag more than 100 times less than that of the most streamlined cars.

Drivetrain: We have focused on minimal-loss chain drive options, lower-drag bearings, and a range of other strategies to ensure every bit of power produced by the pilot makes it to the road.

Rolling Resistance & Wheels: We have found the world’s best handmade tires, incorporated the largest possible wheels for lower rolling resistance and better handling, and optimized the aerodynamic design of the spokes to squeeze out every bit of performance.

Human Power & Ergonomics: A custom lab-quality test rig will determine the best pilot position for efficient power production and positioning of mechanical components, and will aid in pilot training to obtain maximum output in the enclosed shell.


Bluenose: 2013


Bluenose at a glance

 Race years: 2013

Top speed: 125 km/h  (77.7 mph)   (Battle Mountain, 2013)


 

Since 2008, Aerovelo team members have worked with the University of Toronto Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team on very similar types of speedbikes, expanding our knowledge and consistently increasing our performance. The U of T HPVDT’s bikes have been designed primarily for the American Society for Mechanical Engineers’ Human-Powered Vehicle Challenge, a university competition in the US that aims to develop practical road-worthy vehicles. Even with these utility-focused designs, our riders have achieved successive speeds of 102 km/h (63.4 mph) in ACE, 116.9 km/h (72.6 mph) in Vortex, and 125.0 km/h (77.7 mph) in Bluenose.

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Atlas: the Sikorsky prize-winning design


Atlas
 

The Human-Powered Helicopter

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Atlas: the Sikorsky prize-winning design


Atlas
 

The Human-Powered Helicopter

On June 13, 2013, Aerovelo’s human-powered helicopter Atlas won the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Challenge and its $250,000 prize. During the record-­breaking 64 second flight, Atlas reached a height of 3.3 metres.  The American Helicopter Society’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition represents the third largest monetary prize in aviation history. The monumental feat requires a human to hover to an altitude of 3 metres under his/her own power, and to remain aloft for at least 1 minute. The challenge is test a of ingenuity, athleticism and determination.

The key to success on Atlas was that we freed ourselves from unnecessary constraints. We built Atlas as big as it had to be, and then figured out where to fly it.  Atlas turned out to be twice as big as anything that had been built before - it was bigger than most commercial aircraft - and much, MUCH, bigger than the human inside it. 

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Aerovelo Inc., founded by U of T Engineering alumni Todd Reichert (EngSci 0T5, AeroE PhD 1T1), and Cameron Robertson (EngSci 0T8, MASc 0T9), have made history by winning the $250,000 AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Prize, for the first-ever sustained flight of a human-powered helicopter on June 13, 2013. Read more here: http://j.mp/16vbqMq

On June 13th, 2013, the Aerovelo Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter captured the long standing AHS Sikorsky Prize with a flight lasting 64.1 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3.3 metres. 

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Snowbird


Snowbird

Fulfilling man's earliest flight ambitions

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Snowbird


Snowbird

Fulfilling man's earliest flight ambitions

While students at University of Toronto, Aerovelo founders Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson initiated and carried out the Human-Powered Ornithopter (HPO) Project, nicknamed Snowbird. The HPO team sought to achieve one of humanity’s oldest dreams with the successful flight of a human-powered, flapping-wing aircraft. The overall team goal was to provide students with practical hands on experience in engineering design while at the same time promoting efficiency, sustainability and the use of human power as a means of reducing society’s impact on the environment.

The HPO started as a spin-off of the flapping-wing research being con­ducted at the University of Toronto. The team was comprised of a dedicated group of graduate and undergraduate engineering students. An advisory board of experienced aerospace engineers, including successful ornithopter designer Prof. James DeLaurier, lent their expertise to the project. The team also col­laborated with Dutch rowingbike designer Derk Thys, who brought to the project more than twenty years of experience in the design of efficient rowing mechanisms. A Rowingbike mechanism was used in the HPO to transmit power from the pilot to the wings.

The project was initiated in the summer of 2006 with initial low-fidelity proof-of-concept simulations. Research and testing of various construction techniques took place between 2006 and the summer of 2008 when the team relocated to the Great Lakes Gliding Club in Tottenham, Ontario, to begin construction. Construction primarily took place in a barn on-site during the summer of 2008 and 2009. The first flight tests began in October of 2009 and resumed, after a winter hiatus, in July 2010. The Snowbird has a total span of 32 m, an empty weight of 44.7 kg and flies at a speed of 25.6 km/h

History

It is no surprise that humanity’s first attempts at flight were in the form of birdlike, human-powered ornithopters. The great artist and engineer Leonardo Da Vinci is frequently credited as the first to propose a reasonable flying machine in 1490: a giant bat-shaped craft that uses both the pilot’s arms and legs to power the wings. Though the aircraft was never built, and we now know that it would not have flown, it was a remarkable achievement considering the knowledge of the day. At the turn of the 20th century, focus shifted both in the method of thrust production (from flapping wings to the propeller) and the method of power generation (from the human body to the internal combustion engine). With the aerodynamic problem greatly simplified, the impossibility of human flight was disproved by the Wright brother’s flight in 1903 and the stage was set for the boom of aircraft developments in the decades to come. Though work on human-powered aircraft was still carried on from time to time by several groups in various countries, it would be three-quarters of a century before anyone mastered the art of human-powered flight, and a decade beyond that before the complex aerodynamics of flapping wings would be properly understood.